After being off the air for nearly four weeks, KOLD Channel 13 chief meteorologist Chuck George is returning to the air Friday, a day after disclosing publicly that he has been diagnosed with depression.
George last appeared on KOLD April 5. The station revealed in a brief post today that George would appear on a 4 p.m. broadcast today and to share why he had been on leave.
In a story the station posted online today, anchor Barbara Grijalva quotes George as saying he's been diagnosed with depression and that disclosing his struggle to the public is part of his healing process.
"I want to share the story for two reasons," Grijalva's story quotes the popular meteorologist as saying. "One is because I really need to heal myself. It's kind of a final process in what I'm going through. And another is because I want people to know that they're not alone. I thought I was alone for a long time. And I know I'm not now."
George goes on to say that he hopes making his story public helps others and that depression, suicide and addiction.
"My family tree is full of suicide, of depression, of addiction. They're all interrelated and my family tree is just packed with it, and I never thought it would happen to me," he says in the KOLD story.
The latest leave was George's third since 2010. He also took unexplained leaves from Sept. 9, 2011 to Oct. 24 of that year, as well as a five-week break in March and April 2010.
George, who earned a bachelor of science in meteorology degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master of engineering in water resources degree from the University of Arizona, has worked at KOLD since 2003.
Via an email to a Star reporter, KOLD Vice President and General Manager described some upcoming changes at the station.
"Dan Bronis has been hired as our fourth full-time meteorologist. He will do weekends and fill-in for the other weather people. He starts May 13," Bush said. "He graduated from ASU and his family is from Cave Creek. He replaces Cuyler Diggs — who was part time. Cuyler has his own business — and it is growing. However, he will still help us out on a freelance basis when needed. Aaron Pickering will work Monday through Friday, midday and 9 p.m."